Do NOT Punch In A Street Fight

Discussion in 'Self Defense' started by Kevin, Apr 5, 2012.

  1. bowlie

    bowlie Well-Known Member

    Yeah punching is probably fine. But also, having tried palm strikes they just as powerful on a pad. Now that may be because its a slapping motion more so it makes a bigger noise that sounds more powerful or something,
  2. Chris J

    Chris J Active Member

    "If fists were designed for punching, we would be born with mallets at the wrist" - Sifu Alfredo Del Brocco
  3. bowlie

    bowlie Well-Known Member

    They are designed for punching. I linked an article earlier in this thread. Human fists are uniquely designed to allow you to use them as a delicate and dexterous tool, and a bludgeoning weapon. When we make a fist the bones align such that its a reinforced structure much stronger than just the bones on their own. In contrast, monkeys cannot make a proper fist, so they cannot punch. Its simple to me. What does the word fighting conjure up? punching. what do most people do in a fight? punch. Because we are designed to do it and its instinctive and natural to do it.

    We can do other things too, of course, but we should never say we cannot punch.
    GreywulfTKD likes this.
  4. Anybody

    Anybody New Member

  5. Anybody

    Anybody New Member

    I found myself in two fights after TKD training. One (when I was a younger man), involved a man coming after me in a booth I was sitting in at a bar. He grabbed my shirt, lifted me up, pushed me forward and was about to swing, I wrapped up his hands grabbng my shirt with my left hand (he couldn't hit back) and punched with my right. He ran out quickly after a few punches. I considered this a successful self-defense situation. However, I had pain in my right lower thumb on my right hand for years. In my opinion even trade. Glad to take an injury in the hand than anywhere else. As a side note …. Who says TKD folks can't punch! Not advocating, just my experience.
  6. Blue_Knight

    Blue_Knight Active Member

    If feet were designed to kick, we would have been born with hooves at the ankles. - - or maybe not! :rolleyes:

    If mouths were designed to chew food, we would have been born with teeth. Well, I had to grow mine. :D

    My fists might not be a mallet, but when I punch someone, I’m sure they feel like they got hit by a mallet. The nice thing is that I can use my hands to wave bye-bye to them on the ground as I walk away to go eat a pizza with my fingers - which is much harder to do with mallets instead of hands. :p

    Blue Knight
    GreywulfTKD, Chris J and John McNally like this.
  7. Gnarlie

    Gnarlie Well-Known Member

    Hands are not 'designed' for anything. There is nobody with a set square or a CAD system drawing up 3D exploded diagrams. Hands are evolved, for the purposes that natural selection has found to be effective over many many generations. Part of that is picking things up, and using tools. Part of that is hitting. Some forms of hitting are more instinctive than others - for example the side hammer fist or forearm strike with a stone throwing motion. This is what we see in our closest relative primates.

    What hands are evolved for, and what they are suitable for, are two different things. As intelligent beings, we can think of new uses and applications for our existing bodies, and start applying them, much faster than evolution will ever come any further into effect - in fact, as we are not killing each other with our bare hands anymore, natural selection isn't likely to play any further part in the evolution of the hand as a weapon. The human hand is not going to evolve further for the purpose of unarmed hitting. Punching is one of these modern created applications, as are palm heel, knife edge hitting, backfist, fingertip rakes, pokes etc.

    The hand has evolved to be suitable for hitting. It is not in any way designed for has only evolved to suit a broad need to be able to use the upper limbs as weapons. This need was satisfied in our nearest primate relatives. The further evolution of the human hand after we split from our shared ancestor has more to do with tool use than unarmed fighting.
  8. bowlie

    bowlie Well-Known Member

    Ok then but your issue is with the word designed, not my argument. The human hand, unlike the primate hand, is formed so that it reaches a compromise between being strong enough to hit with, and dexterous enough to use tools with.

    Also, I think it was in this thread that Blue said that wrist alignment is not taught in many arts. I started training at a muay thai gym a few weeks ago and the very first thing they taught was fist formation with proper wrist alignment.
  9. Gnarlie

    Gnarlie Well-Known Member

    It's not just the word, it's the conclusion.​
    Seems to me that study was more about this:​
    "But the real focus of the study was whether the proportions of the human hand allow buttressing (support)."
    "The team found that making a clenched fist did indeed provide protective buttressing for the delicate bones of the hand."
    "Making a fist increased the stiffness of the second meta-carpo-phalangeal, or MCP, joint (these joints are the knuckles visible when the hand is clenched as a fist) by a factor of four."
    Than this:
    "It also doubled the ability of the proximal phalanges (the bones of the fingers that articulate with the MCP joints) to transmit a punching force."
    i.e. the study wasn't about punching per se, but hand structure.
    Go to the Journal of Experimental Biology and read the article. It's a peer reviewed journal and this article looks to have been through the peer review process. Look how many time the authors use the word 'may'. It's very telling. Where fact has been established in the article, the word 'may' is not used. Those are the facts I've quoted above.
    The most definite conclusion that they have reached is a proposal:
    "We propose that the derived proportions of hominin hands reflect, in part, sexual selection to improve fighting performance."
    The only established facts that seem to be in there suggest that clenching a fist strengthens the structure of the hand, protecting the small bones, which was fairly bloomin obvious without the need for a study. I don't see any reasonable proof that this is for punching reasons as opposed to say, protection of the small bones of the hand in a fight or flight situation, or when striking downwards a la chimpanzees, which I would argue could be just as effective as punching in gaining superiority in a primitive fight. Prevention of injury to the primary weapons would allow the fighter to continue fighting and not be defeated due to that injury, therefore survive and be subject to natural selection.​
    Therefore if the evolution of the structure of the hand was influenced by fighting, it's not necessarily because the fist is a good offensive weapon. It might be because it is a good way of preventing injury to the main weapons.​
    It's a great paper to demonstrate that the strength of the fist shape can be used effectively as a punching weapon. However, there are factors outside the scope of the article but within the scope of fighting (e.g. the instinctive defensive reaction of clenching the hands to prevent broken fingers), which mean that it is weak for demonstrating this point about punching when fighting. We're a long way from demonstrating that hands were 'designed for' punching.
    Only the offense angle has been considered in the article, and that makes it insufficient to demonstrate the point that the hand evolved specifically to make the fist double as a punching weapon. Making the fist may strengthen the structure, but the reasons for that remain unspecified. Even in the article the reason is only implied and not directly stated. In a peer reviewed publication, if you have proven something to be fact, you state it as fact.​
  10. bowlie

    bowlie Well-Known Member

    Im aware of how articles work, Im a student :p In your idea, what would the primary weapon be? The article puts forwards a theory, and I like that theory. It makes sense to me. Again, if you tell two people to fight, they punch each other. That clenching of the fist, so you can punch. Its all hard wired into us to do so because its natural for us.
  11. Blue_Knight

    Blue_Knight Active Member

    Well bowlie, if you are going to MISquote me…… AGAIN, I will have to remind you of how this conversation went earlier in response to another individual who challenged my statement that Taekwondo punching is “different” than boxing punches (which is what we were discussing at the time - - not “muay thai” or any other art).

    I said…

    You countered with this misinterpretation…

    To which I said…

    I then pointed out what I ACTUALLY said…

    "In the same fashion" means that boxers DO align wrists - - they just do it in a different fashion (different alignment) than Taekwondo to accommodate the shape of the gloves and the impact surface. Failure to align the wrist differently INSIDE of a glove will cause an improper impact and less force. Failure to adjust the alignment OUTSIDE of a glove will result in incorrect striking surface and possible wrist injury on a hard surface such as the bones or skull.

    You had made the point that in BOXING, the use of specific knuckles is “less commonly taught.”

    And I pointed out…

    Now that you have had your memory refreshed - - you might notice that I did not say ANYTHING remotely close to “wrist alignment is not taught in many arts.”

    Every Martial Art that teaches hand strikes and punches, will first teach some form of “wrist alignment.” My point has not changed or wavered from the fact that some methods, such as BOXING, which strike with broad surface of gloves and often different knuckles on the hand than Taekwondo will HAVE TO align the wrist “DIFFERENTLY” to support the impact. Not ALL wrist alignment is the same, but you should comprehend that I never said they don’t align the wrist, or they don’t teach wrist alignment in “boxing” (and I never made a comment about other arts on this point).

    Blue Knight
  12. Gnarlie

    Gnarlie Well-Known Member

    The primary weapons are the extremities of the limbs including the hands, including clubbing motions with a fist AND holding weapons. Which of those is more likely to cause death in the opponent, and therefore contribute to natural selection and evolution?

    If you want to fight with a low likelihood of death, you punch. If you want to kill, you do something a bit more grab a rock.

    Along with using their strong bite and fangs to subdue an opponent, chimpanzees grapple, slam and wrestle their victims to the ground. They hit, kick, stomp, pull on fur and drag their victims. When they hit, they do it downward with a balled up hand like a fist, using the side of the hand. They have also been observed using weapons like sticks and stones.

    Humans are less equipped to bite, but we share many of the same primary fighting modes. Much of our grappling and wrestling and the general violent motion of a fight requires the delicate fingers to be protected.

    I don't think the fist as an attacking weapon is what made us deadly enough for natural selection and evolution to be applicable. I believe that the evolution of the human hand was influenced more by our ability to hold a weapon and to ball up the hand to protect the fingers preventing an injury that would lead to losing.

    It is with a weapon that we have always been at our most deadly and least vulnerable to injury, and if our evolution has been influenced by effective fighting ability, then that would be more about the ability to hold weapons than about unarmed combat.

    Holding a weapon allowed us to increase distance from the opponent, keeping us safer, and acted as a force multiplier increasing the likelihood of victory and opponent death. Our instinct is about protection - about not striking directly - we have naturally moved further away from the fight over time, first sticks, then spears, then guns. That's why I suggest that the balling of the fist is more defensive than aggressive. Hitting someone with a fist is much less likely to result in their death than hitting them with a weapon, and it is ultimately death that is required to influence natural selection.
  13. bowlie

    bowlie Well-Known Member

    we left that argument behind, I just thought you might find it interesting.
  14. bowlie

    bowlie Well-Known Member

    Very true, I think your point about sparring is interesting. Even when you attack someone, its rarely to damage them. Often its to redeem some sort of respect of social standing, to show dominance or to vent anger and strike out, but not often with the intention of damaging the person badly. Humans are generally averse to hurting each other. I guess its good for the survival of the race if we aren't murdering each other all the time. So maybe your right, maybe punching has developed as a sparring tool. Much as many forms of folk wrestling exist because it provides a platform for violent competition without destroying the competitors. Even so, if the hand is used for this, that still means it adapted to be used for striking.
  15. Gnarlie

    Gnarlie Well-Known Member

    That's the point I'm making - that the adaptation to striking with the forefist is more a result of man's intelligent use of his existing resources than a result of evolution of the hand for that specific purpose. Man has developed forefist striking along with other types of striking in the period of time since the last major evolutional changes to the hand.

    Also bear in mind that early stages in our evolution featured threats other than our fellow humans. In a case of survival against non-human adversaries, where tooth and claw were weapons, the fist would have been of limited use, whereas holding a weapon would more likely to result in human survival.
  16. Blue_Knight

    Blue_Knight Active Member

    You thought I might find what interesting? That a muay thai class taught wrist alignment for punching early on? Interesting?.... not really. Surprising?.... not at all. Also, not contrary to anything I have said earlier in the thread that you 'left behind' but then misquoted to make it sound like I said something I didn't. I have never studied muay thai, so I don't know exactly how their instructors teach wrist alignment, or which angle, trajectory or striking tool is preferred, but I am sure they teach some form of alignment and would teach it early in training.

    Blue Knight
  17. Chris J

    Chris J Active Member

    Thanks for reminding me, about the design of a fist. You have a dizzying intellect sir.
    Wow! the monkey part is fascinating. The next time I fight one, I'll try to incorporate that into my strategy.
  18. Chris J

    Chris J Active Member

    :) Outstanding, Sir!
    Blue_Knight likes this.

    RTKDCMB Active Member

    Human beings do lots of things they weren't designed for, if we did not then we would have never have left the caves.
  20. Chris J

    Chris J Active Member

    Yes, however a great many more things that our bodies WERE designed for, that we learned to developed, help us to get out of the caves.;) Funnily enough, hand to hand combat could well have been one of them.....who knows?

    Let's not get too carried away with the context of the quote. The interpretation is simple:
    If we are going to use our hands like mallets, they need conditioning and shaping to develop as a weapon. Much like a clump of iron needs to be forged into a sword.

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